UK Ancestry Visa

UK Ancestry Visa

You can only apply for a UK Ancestry Visa if you:

  • Are a:
    • British Overseas Citizen;
    • British Overseas Territories citizen;
    • British National (overseas);
    • Citizen of Zimbabwe; or
    • A Commonwealth citizen – the full list of Commonwealth countries can be found here:
  • are applying from outside the UK
  • are able to prove that one of your grandparents was born in the UK and islands; on a British registered ship or aircraft; or in what is now known as the Republic of Ireland prior to 31 March 1922.
  • are able and planning to work in the UK

You must prove that you:

  • are 17 or over
  • have enough money without help from public funds to support and house yourself and any dependants – there is no minimum amount of money you need to have before applying for the visa, however you should have enough funds to reasonably support and accommodate yourself in the UK for at least one month whilst you seek employment or are awaiting your first months’ pay from an employer or a client/customer if you are self-employed.
  • can and plan to work in the UK – evidence of this could include, but is not limited to:
    • job offers from employers
    • evidence of registration with a recruitment agency
    • evidence of job applications you have made or any steps you have undertaken to improve your chances of finding employment – for example, relevant training courses
    • a business plan, if you intend to be self-employed

Your ancestry

You must also show that you have a grandparent born in one of the following circumstances:

  • in the UK (the UK means England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man)
  • before 31 March 1922 in what is now the Republic of Ireland (you may wish to consider applying for Irish Citizenship via Foreign Birth Registration if you have a grandparent that was born anywhere on the Island of Ireland (including Northern Ireland) instead of applying for the UK Ancestry Visa)
  • on a British-registered ship or aircraft

You can claim ancestry if either you or the relevant parent:

  • were adopted
  • were born within or outside marriage in the UK

You cannot claim UK ancestry through step-parents.

Family members

Your family members (‘dependants’) must apply to join or remain with you in the UK if they do not have British or Irish Citizenship. Your family members do not need to have Commonwealth Citizenship.

A ‘dependant’ is any of the following:

  • your partner/spouse
  • your child under 18
  • your child over 18 if they’re currently in the UK as a dependant (i.e. they already have a dependant visa)

The visa is initially granted for a period of 5 years, after which you and your dependants could make an application for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK if you meet all of the suitability and eligibility criteria. You must have Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK for at least 12 months prior to making an application for British Citizenship by naturalisation unless you are married to or in a civil partnership with a British Citizen.

The breakdown of fees for a UK Ancestry Visa is as follows:

  • Visa Application Fee – £516.00.
  • Immigration Health Surcharge – £3,120.00 for an applicant 18 years of age or over, and £2,350.00 for an applicant under the age of 18.
  • Priority Service Receipt (optional) – £220.00 (UK Visas and Immigration (‘UKVI’) aim to process priority visa applications in 5 business days).

Applicants can only apply for initial entry clearance from their country of residency (not the UK), and standard processing time for a UK Ancestry Visa is 3-weeks.

Should you have any questions about the UK Ancestry Visa, please contact our immigration lawyers for assistance.